ADRA Colombia

ADRA Colombia delivers food baskets to Awaliba and Guacoyo indigenous reserves in the Meta department

May 26, 2023 | ADRA Colombia Press.

In an effort to meet the food needs of vulnerable indigenous communities, ADRA Colombia, in collaboration with the Puerto López District (Meta), delivered food baskets to the Awaliba and Guacoyo indigenous reserves, belonging to the Sikuany community. This action aims to alleviate the shortage of basic food facing these communities in the region.

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[Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

The need for food assistance was identified through the missionary work carried out by Associate Minister of the Puerto López District, Cristian Camilo Soto Barco. During his time spent with the indigenous communities, Minister Soto witnessed the difficulties faced by large families and single mothers in obtaining essential food.

“The need was identified through the missionary work we have been doing with the communities,” commented Minister Soto. “We realized the need for those basic foods, where there are large families that find it difficult to acquire these foods, single mothers with many children, and only they look after them,” he pointed out.

Although these communities receive some government assistance, the distances and lack of resources hinder its effective delivery, especially to the more remote communities, as stated by Carol Rojas Loboa, treasurer of the Association of the Eastern Plains. ADRA Colombia has stepped in to fill this gap and provide support to these communities in their fight for food security.

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[Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

The economy of the Awaliba and Guacoyo indigenous reserves largely depends on agriculture and the exchange of products among themselves, as finding employment outside the community is a challenge. Their primary sustenance comes from fishing and the cultivation of yuca, known as “yuca brava,” from which they extract basic foods like “mañoco” and “casabe.” However, the income generated is minimal and barely enough to cover daily needs.

In response to this situation, ADRA Colombia delivered a variety of food and hygiene products to the indigenous communities. The food baskets included rice, wheat flour, panela, and other essentials for their nutrition. Additionally, hygiene products such as laundry soap, bath soap, brushes, creams, and toilet paper rolls were distributed.

The delivery of these donations was received with great joy and gratitude by the 130 beneficiary families in the indigenous reserves.

“The community felt very happy to receive all this help, as it was 130 families from these communities that received these supplies,” said Minister Cristian.

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[Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

The community not only shared material sustenance but also spiritual celebration, as this act of solidarity coincided with the inauguration of two temples in the communities that received assistance.

“It was a day of great joy because it was the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, but it was also sharing with them some of that material bread, which is also very important; all the families received it with great joy,” expressed Minister Cristian Camilo Soto.

It is worth mentioning that the joint effort between the Adventist Church and ADRA Colombia has led to 21 communities, both of the Ikuani and Piapoco ethnicities, accepting the Adventist message and gathering on Saturdays to participate in the Lord’s Supper according to biblical principles. Of these 21 communities, 14 temples have been built, and some of them are in the process of construction for their imminent completion.

This valuable initiative by ADRA Colombia has left a lasting positive impact on the indigenous communities of the Awaliba and Guacoyo reserves. Not only has it provided immediate relief from food scarcity, but it has also strengthened the sense of community and mutual support.

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[Photograph: ADRA Colombia]

“We are very grateful and hopeful. We continue to work with the population and with God’s help to strengthen us, to be well in our work. Thank you for the support you have given us,” expressed the pastor of the Millares de Ángeles de Aliva Central Church, Francisco Ramos.

However, one of the challenges faced in this missionary work is the language barrier, as each ethnicity has its own language. To overcome this difficulty, community leaders play a fundamental role in translating messages, especially for women and children who have less command of the Spanish language so they can understand the message of salvation.

“The goal for this year is to achieve a similar number of translations, but in the Piapoco language, so that we can share the message of Jesus in their native language,” urged Soto.

The indigenous community expressed deep gratitude to ADRA Colombia and the Adventist Church for their support and for sharing both spiritual and material sustenance. This collaborative work has brought joy and hope to families, strengthening the bonds of solidarity and cooperation on the path to a better future for these indigenous communities in Meta.

The commitment of the Adventist Church and ADRA Colombia to indigenous communities continues to grow, with the intention of expanding the message of love and hope to more people, overcoming cultural and linguistic barriers to make a lasting impact on the lives of those who need it most.